Subtitle: I miss Ruby.
Since this episode aired ages ago, I’m just going to jump in. First, the titular shattered sight curse cast at the end of the last episode.
Idk, I expected more.
Regina is, well, Regina. Evil Queen version. Played to the hilt. It’s a lot of fun to watch (and looks like a lot of fun to play). She has a cute recurring gag about her clothes and this moment:
That my daughter still recreates spontaneously and randomly three months later. But there was nothing new about any of this, and very little nuance. Worst Self Grade: B
Snow is a Mommyzilla. Though to be fair she’s been Mommyzilla Lite all season and… I like it? I love how different “Mary Margaret” and “Snow” were back at the beginning and I really love how far she’s come in integrating the two. I hope for more of that ‘cause the glimpses we get are great. Worst Self Grade: B+
Regina lets Snow out so they can sword fight but Charming spends the spell in jail sniping and whining and growling and sighing and it’s pretty hilarious. Someday I will write a thirty page dissertation on the amazingness that is Charming’s characterization because it is honestly more amazing every time I think about him. He is literally incapable of being anyone other than Charming. Even here. David is never ever Not David even when he is under a spell that explicitly turns him into Not Himself. He becomes More David maybe? Like this:
Maybe? Anyway, point being, Charming spends the whole time in a cell being petty and whiny and he added nothing to the action and it is kind of perfect. Worst Self Grade: A
Kristoff is basically More David Lite and then when he tries to go back to Arendelle by way of the trunk portal from last week (or something? He went to the beach anyway) Anna hits him on the head with a bottle. Yawn. Worst Self Grade: C
Will is belligerent and tipsy exactly the same as he’s been for 90% of this season (the other 10% of the time he’s pining for Anastasia). Which I take to mean that beig trapped in Storybrooke without his Wonderland crew turns him into his worst self. And that is super sad! But probably not at all intentional. Worst Self Grade: D
Henry is the kid in Home Alone. Literally. He’s home alone and he sets traps to help him escape two thieves (Hook and Will). In the end he is reunited with his Mom, and then the rest of his family, while it is snowing. Worst Self Grade: C
Belle is asleep the entire episode. Worst Self Grade: INCOMPLETE
Rumplestiltskin is immune because he’s Rumplestiltskin. Worst Self Grade: WITHDREW
Hook is immune because Rumplestiltskin has his heart. Which I think means EVERYONE could have been immune if they’d let Rumple and Regina and anyone they deputized as a Heart-Ripper rip hearts but where’s the fun in that I guess. Worst Self Grade: PENDING INVESTIGATION INTO ALLEGATIONS OF CHEATING
Also immune: Anna, Elsa, and Emma.
The rest of the town is brawling in the streets except by “the rest of the town” I mean the dwarves and Granny and the “brawling” is so antiseptic I can’t even find a good screencap. So. Don’t get me wrong, there were moments of true comedic greatness between Snow & Charming & Regina and their falling over in laughter afterwards was genuine and beautiful. But when I imagine what COULD have been if we’d seen more of the town and for longer… it’s because of overstuffed and therefore underutilized episodes like this I get mad at filler episodes like the previous one.
Second, Emma’s childhood in foster care wasn’t always as horrible as she remembers. These scenes were my favorite in the episode. Ingrid’s arrival in our world is reminiscent of Enchanted:
and that’s always welcome. Her relationship with Emma, in the person of her foster mother, is orchestrated and super creepy but also genuine and ultimately tragic and I much prefer this version of Emma’s backstory where actual evil villains are the evil villains manipulating her life to the ones presented up until now (flippantly!) where the foster care system itself is established as the most horrible thing that can happen to a child. Because, no.
Ingrid stands up for Emma, befriends Emma, and finally tells Emma she wants to adopt her and they will be the family they both always wanted
and also special like Harry Potter (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was published in the US September 1,1998 so Lily and Emma are ahead of the curve in Pottermania but I accept it).
Ingrid and Emma are poised to live happily ever after except for one thing…
Ingrid is crazy. She throws Emma and herself into the path of a car in order to force Emma to use the magic powers she doesn’t know she has. Emma, reasonably, runs away from the woman who claimed to love her but tried to kill her.
It is heartbreaking. Emma’s childhood convinced her there was something wrong with her – that’s why she was abandoned and left behind and overlooked and finally someone SEES HER, first Lily and then Ingrid, and she makes this face
Because she wants it so badly, she wants to believe, and she’s so scared to even admit that. And Ingrid… she wants the same things Emma wants. She wants to belong, to matter, to be connected to someone else in this very specific way that she lost. But she goes too far and Emma’s horror that her happy ending is a literal nightmare
Forward in Storybrooke circa the first episodes of season one (shout out to Graham included!)
Emma meets Ingrid in the ice cream shop and accuses her of stalking her. Which is on the nose. Ingrid steals all Emma’s memories of her, good and bad.
And hides them in the Carrot Sherbet because no one wants that.
Finally in the present, Anna discovers that the only way to break the curse is to kill Ingrid. Emma and Elsa realize their immunity ribbons also make it impossible for them to hurt Ingrid.
So they use Regina’s rage to break Ingrid’s ribbons.
Meanwhile, Anna finds the bottle that her parents threw over the side in the first episode of this season.
Dear Elsa and Anna,
We are the worst parents ever.
Mom and Dad
P.S. Your aunt with Elsa’s exact same powers is trapped in an urn in a cave.
What follows is simultaneously beautiful and ridiculous.
Ribbons off and powers restored, Elsa and Emma confront Ingrid. There is an interesting moment that maybe foreshadows Emma’s impending trip to the dark side? Elsa can’t bring herself to fight (kill) Ingrid and Emma replies she can. But before she launches an attack Anna runs in with the convenient letter of contrition and exposition.
Anna saves Ingrid with the power of love and then Ingrid sacrifices herself to end the curse.
This whole sequence is emotionally rewarding. We get: Gerda’s admitting her mistakes. 40 years after she’s dead but. It’s something. Especially to Ingrid.
Anna facing death to save her family. Which is her thing but. Good on her.
And Lots and lots of hugs and tears.
But if you step back from the Feels…
Everything is super convenient.
Except the super convenient option that would make the most sense in the context of both OUAT and Frozen:
I guess in the end True Love doesn’t conquer all? Because there was A LOT of True Love being flung about and Ingrid still had to die to break the curse. That’s super powerful.
But…. the curse didn’t affect Hook because he didn’t have his heart…. So, that’s more powerful?
And also if everyone becomes their worst selves doesn’t that make them more inclined to harm the caster? So it actually seems super dangerous, too.
I just don’t know.